You Need to Compete

Children these days are being raised to be pansies. Got your attention? Good.

There’s no real sense of competition anymore. Parents are pulling their kids out of sports because they deem it as “unfair” for many purposes. Could be because Lil’ Tommy is throwing heaters at your kids head, or perhaps it could be because he’s simply a better athlete and you can’t wrap your mind around competition.

You see, competition is a healthy, normal thing for humans to feel. Whether it be competition on the Savannah to hunt a lion, or competition on the platform to conquer a weight that you’ve never attempted before.

Merriam-Webster defines competition as, “A contest between rivals.” Perhaps that’s so on the baseball diamond or football field. But, what about at a Powerlifting or Olympic lifting meet? Certainly you’re trying to defeat your opponent there, but I would say that the ultimate goal is to beat yourself, especially within your first few meets.


To a strength athlete and competitive powerlifter, fewer things trump hearing your name called by the announcer, stomping up to the chalk bowl, running a piece of chalk over your hands while visualizing a complete lift, and approaching the bar. It’s now or never. Do you run? Do you scream and grip the cold iron, not letting doubt creep in before you stand up with the weight in your hands? I choose the latter. There is nothing that will defeat me beyond the iron. That’s what makes me compete, and that’s what makes me a competitor.

If there’s ever been doubt in your mind as to whether or not you can accomplish a task, I commend you. You’re human. We all have our doubts. I wasn’t a very confident guy until I discovered the way of the iron. Striking out in conversation with women, and even with random people in line at a convenience store as I fumbled for the words to say. I was a scrawny, 135 pound weakling when I graduated high school. Once I found the weights, nothing else mattered. I was going to become strong. A goal bench of 185 became 205, which became 225, 250, 275, and is now at 315. Think I’m done? Think again.

My goal is to be better than I was last time. If I happen to be better than you in the process? Well, that’s just another side effect of competition. You either have that attitude, or you are left to hang out with the soccer mom’s on the side of the field, relishing the “glory days” that are only left to memory. Go out and make your glory days for the future. Get off your ass and go compete!

Author’s Note: By no means am I telling you how to raise your children. As long as they’re not pampered to a disgusting degree, you’re alright by me.

Written by Jay Stadtfeld for

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